Winter Plant Care
Image by Lauren Kolyn
When you’re searching for plant care tips you aren’t always given information on how to take care of your plants in Canadian winters. Our days are short but unpredictable; fluctuating from frigid temperatures to downright balmy days. So how do we take care of our precious green friends during The Great Overcast that can last a good four months? We’ve made a short list of things to consider.
Temperature Drops: Keep Your Plants Away From The Cold
We know that winter is inevitable and that tropical plants can be sensitive to colder temperatures, but it can affect your plants more than you may realize. Contact with a cold window may cause leaf dieback. Plant leaves experience frost damage when they are not hardy to low temps. Move your plants a little further into your space to avoid cold damage and plant death. If you are moving plants in the winter; whether it is a propagation gift you received from a friend, moving house, or taking your plant in to be repotted, please cover them. Even a short distance can cause dieback to your plant and sometimes kill it altogether. it's tragic and we don't want that for you.
The Dryness is a Problem: Hydrate Your Plants
Kiss your humidity good bye once you turn on the heat in your home. You may have central heating or radiator heat, both will render your inside environment Saharan. It can also affect the frequency of your watering. Typically, we are told that watering can slow down due to your plant not having as much daylight, but it never takes into account how drying our indoor Canadian homes can be. In some cases, you may have to water just as frequently if not more in the winter to make sure your plants do not dry out and lose leaves (we’re looking at you, Euphorbia). Check in with your plants’ soil moisture and up your misting to twice a day, or invest in a humidifier which is sure to make many of your plants rejoice. Be sure not to mist late at night as your plant may be susceptible to fungal issues- stick to morning and midday.
It’s Just So Dark: Supplement Your Light.
Merely an observation and not a complaint, but the days are much shorter and we are often subjected to long stretches of overcast days. You may want to look into supplementing your light with grow bulbs and other lighting systems to ensure that your light loving plants are adequately fed. Light is food for plants and we cannot forget the simple fact that plants may need a little more help during this time of year to ensure their needs are met. There are a ton of lighting solutions available to suit your budget so feel free to reach out to us to discuss your many options.
Fertilizer: Conventional Rules May Not Always Apply
Many of us have been taught that you only fertilize plants during the growing season, typically from April-September. But there are many plants that will continue to actively grow during the winter and it’s sound to fertilize all year round. If you are concerned about the concentration of synthetic fertilizers, we recommend fertilizing at half strength for water soluble solutions. We have products like worm castings and foliar sprays that can be used year-round as they are organic, low concentration fertilizers that you will not risk burning your plants’ leaves in hopes of achieving optimal growth. Plant care often needs to be assessed on an individual basis and when in doubt, it never hurts to reach out to your plant community and ask.
We’re indoors a lot during the winter and the windows are often closed which means that there can be a lot of dust circulating in your home. Take the time weekly or biweekly to wipe down your plants’ leaves with a damp cloth. Removing dust will help your plant better photosynthesize and it’s your first line of defense against spotting pests on your plants. We highly recommend this practice and encourage you to also prune out any leaves that are yellowing or declining on your plant. This will ensure that your plant will focus new growth and improve its overall health. Making some adjustments during the winter months will keep your plants happy until spring.